Spring semester! + a setback

Hello from campus!  I moved back into the dorm on Sunday afternoon, and spring semester classes started yesterday.

This semester, I’m taking three business classes and two Spanish classes.  I just declared a Hispanic Studies major yesterday, and I’m currently a marketing minor with the hopes of becoming a double major!  This semester’s class schedule is a little funky, and I’m going to have to miss the lifting sessions with the team 😦 but on the plus side, I have no class on Fridays!  I also have 4 and a half hours between classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays, which is why I have time to write this post!

I’m a little apprehensive about the intensity of my courses, but I’m also looking forward to them.

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Last week’s training (1/9-1/15):

M: 3 miles after work + core/yoga
T: AM: drills, 7 early miles, strides.  Went well!  PM: 2 miles to gym + lift day 1.  Felt a little burnt out from the day.  Total: 9 miles.
W: workout with teammates on canal.  3 miles warm-up (too fast…), drills 3 x [9 min progression, 5 min maintenance].  First two sets were rough but I pulled my head out of my butt for the third set and it went really well.  2 mile cool down.  Total = 11 miles.
Th: AM: 5 early miles.  Legs were very heavy/feet sore from the day before.  Not a great run overall, but some good moments.  Core afterwards.
F: AM: drills, 7 early miles, strides.  Felt awesome! Last work day!  PM: 4 miles, felt awesome again! + upper body lift stuff.  Total: 11.
Sat: 3 mile warm-up, drills, 2 x 200 (37, 36), 3 x [1000, 600] with 2 min btwn intervals and a lap btwn sets.  3:37, 2:04, 3:36, 2:01, 3:35, 2:01.  2+ mile cool down.  Feet hurt on cool down.  TBH just wanted to be done the whole time… Total = 9ish.
Sun: 8 miles– feet were in absolutely horrible pain and I ran so slowly and was limping and wincing the whole time.  Finished up with 40 min bike and they were not in any more pain, so it’s definitely the impact.

Total: 56 miles + 40 min bike.
I unexpectedly had two awesome runs on Friday, but that was where it ended.  For Saturday’s workout, I kind of wanted to be done the whole time and chose all the shortest options.  My toes started to hurt a lot on the cool down, and Sunday’s long run only made it epically worse.  Three miles in, I was wincing and limping, but I was on an 8-mile loop and couldn’t go any shorter.  I finally got back to campus and limped to the bike, where I finished the “long run” with a pain-free 40 minutes.
So for the past few days, I’ve been putting in hours on the bike and in the pool, and yesterday I got to use the Alter-G (anti-gravity treadmill) for the first time!  I ran 4 miles at 75% bodyweight.  Unfortunately, it didn’t help much.

My toes feel inflamed and stretched out, if that makes any sense, and I’m continuing to experience a lot of bunion pain.  The athletic trainers haven’t really been able to pinpoint a cause, either, but I seem to be experiencing a lot of symptoms of metatarsal bursitis, so maybe I’ll ask about that.

I also need to remember not to go too hard with the cross training.  This morning, the last thing I wanted to do was get on the infernal spin bike in the windowless room.  I was miserable and exhausted for an hour.  Mentality is key!  This is just a minor setback 🙂

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One of my top 5 hardest workouts

(OK, I actually did write this post this morning; I just forgot to publish it.)

Good morning!  It’s a beautiful spring day, I just finished my 3-mile double, and I thought I’d talk about Tuesday’s track workout while I eat a lovely breakfast of Greek yogurt, Wawa coffee, oatmeal with apple/chia seeds/almond butter/cinnamon, and of course my daily multivitamin.  No class until 12:30. 🙂

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Oatmeal is THE ugliest food ever but still so good

All right!  Tuesday’s workout…Let’s just say I have no trouble recalling the experience because my body still despises me two days later.

The (good? bad?) thing about getting fitter and faster is that your coaches will adjust your workout paces accordingly.  On Tuesday, I was put in sort of a new workout group.  We went out for our 3 mile warm-up and then did drills and strides before our coach told us the workout.

5 x 400 at 77-75 seconds, 4 x 800 at 2:38, 4-5 x 400 at 77-75 seconds

*Dies*

What actually happened: 5 x 400 at 76-75 seconds, 3 x 800 at 2:43, 2:47, 2:48, 1 x 600 at 2:04, 4 x 400 at 78, 77, 76, 76

By the time the first 5 x 400 was over, it felt like I’d already done an entire workout, and we were less than 1/3 done.  Our coach told us to hit 79 for each lap of the 800s (um, what), but I’m pretty sure the only time I ran 79 was the first lap of the first 800.  Each one after that got slower and slower.  And they were still fairly faster than I’m used to!  By the third 800, my legs were immovable logs and I was pretending the 800s were 600s because the last 200 doesn’t matter amirite 😉  So I’d get to 600m and then just death-march the last 200.  My coach modified my 4th 800 to a 600 (bless).

Am I being dramatic?

For the last set of 400s, she had us do the first two backwards on the track, which was pretty weird.  I led the last three 400s and at that point I was just riding the pain train home.  We hit 78, 77, 76, and 76.

After a 3 mile cool down in which we were so destroyed that we were babbling nonsensically, we completed a leg lift and then stretched, rolled, and ice bathed.

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Choosing my post-workout treat was hard (I chose a truffle)

The next morning, my roommate and I both woke up to cross train, fairly hobbled to the rec, and I sat at the edge of the pool for a little bit because I just could. not. get. in. Everything hurt.  I felt like a zombie.  But this is the work that will give us an edge in future races!

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In my meeting with my coach yesterday, she brought up a really good point (see above).  I’m at an entirely new fitness level for myself right now.  While the paces she gives me may sound scary, she gives them to me because she thinks/knows I can hit them.  Just because I’ve never run that fast before doesn’t mean I can’t do them now.  I need to work on believing in myself in races and in workouts when I get to the point where I can either make a move or stay where I am.  In this new fitness territory, it’s all about confidence!

Silver diner, spaghetti squash, Squarebars!

This is a more positive, mostly food-related post 🙂

My meals have been on point recently.  I’ve also been waking up at 5:30 or 6 every day (usually not by choice), which makes the days feel really long.  Like, ready-for-lunch-by-9:30-am-and-bed-by-9-pm long.

Anyway, I decided to indulge yesterday because balance is very important.   Another sunny 80-degree day (which I enjoyed more because I didn’t have to run) brought a morning walk with the dog, a 3,000 meter swim in the pool (phew), and an afternoon with one of my good friends (shoutout to her because I know she reads this blog!).

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Lunch was absolutely delicious: tomato-mozzarella-pesto sandwich, sweet potato fries, and coleslaw.  I also ordered coffee..which I’ve been drinking a lot more recently…ahhh!

Afterwards, we drove out to a nature preserve and went on a mini hike and enjoyed the good weather.

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My friends have recently been singing praises for Halo Top ice cream, so I stopped by Whole Foods later in the day to pick some up.  I was really skeptical because ice cream is supposed to be unhealthy- that’s why it’s so good- and I’m not a big proponent of sugar alcohols such as erythritol.  But the rest of the ingredients list was impressive, and I read reviews beforehand so I knew I wasn’t falling for some nasty healthy-food scam 😉  I picked up a pint of vanilla bean Halo Top, along with a few other items because you really can’t just get one thing at Whole Paycheck Whole Foods.

Once I got home, I immediately tried the ice cream.  On a scale of 1-10, 1 being nauseating and 10 being just as good as Ben and Jerry’s, I’d honestly give it a 7!  It was impressively creamy, although not *quite* as creamy as regular ice cream.  The vanilla bean flavor was on point, and it was a refreshing treat after the 80-degree hike.  Unfortunately, it’s expensive ($5.99!), so I don’t think I’ll be buying it a lot.  But it was definitely good!

I ate the chocolate coated almond spice Squarebar today, and it was so good.  I don’t even know why I liked it so much, but I did.  I saved half for after my afternoon run, and I actually thought about it the whole run.  10/10 would recommend.  It was pretty much a candy bar, but with 12 grams of protein!

Another “treat”: a few nights ago, I made energy bites!  I went off of this recipe, but as long as you have oats, nut butter, and something to bind them (like chia or flax seeds), you can pretty much add in anything you want!

Ingredients: oats, pumpkin, almond butter, cinnamon, chia seeds, vanilla, maple syrup, almonds, craisins, and bittersweet chocolate chips.  They’re chewy and cookie-dough-like, and they’re utterly delicious.

Additionally, my new running shoes arrived 🙂

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My team is sponsored by New Balance, but I’ve tried running in multiple different NB models so far, and none of them have worked for me.  The apparel is great, the spikes are great…I just can’t run in the trainers!  So I’m sticking with Mizuno for the time being.

Today, I actually had a running double (as opposed to a cross train/run double)!  I ran 3 miles in the morning and did my upper body strength routine, and then in the afternoon I ran 6 miles and did strides.  Honestly, I had negative thoughts about my second run all day until I actually did it, and then it turned out to be a really good run!  It was still 80 degrees and humid, though.

I made dinner for my brothers and myself tonight: spaghetti squash and sauteed shrimp, zucchini, red bell pepper, spinach, and garlic in olive oil.  And Prego because I’m not that fancy 😉

The finished product (sorry for the shitty quality; the lighting in my house is bad and I’m not exactly a pro photographer)

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This is probably one of the best meals I’ve ever made.  It was my first time making spaghetti squash, and it turned out so well!!  I ate two full bowls, and now I’m ridiculously full.  Good, wholesome, nutrient-packed foods make me so happy.  My youngest brother even liked it a lot, although my other younger brother stuck to white pasta and tomato sauce…oh well…

Time to eat some more vanilla bean Halo Top for dessert 🙂

How do we handle bad days?

Damn, my last post was so optimistic and positive!  Sorry in advance for the negativity today, but I hope I can come to some good conclusions.

On Monday, I ran six miles with my friend, and we hammered.  We were hitting 7:00 flat.  I was not recovering from my long run.  I skipped the strides just because they didn’t fit in to where I had run, and I did upper body circuits and abs when I got home.  I’ve recently been really into Siggi’s yogurt, and I tried the orange and ginger flavor for post-run fuel.  It was incredible.IMG_8687.JPG

Yesterday started out mediocre and turned horrible, both running and otherwise.  After some emotionally traumatizing family issues last night, I went to bed emotionally and physically exhausted, slept badly and wasn’t particularly in the mood to work out.  The temperature rocketed up to a sunny 80 degrees (what happened to last Friday’s ice storm??), I sat in the car for two hours while taking my mom to the airport, and I was annoyed at having to bear more responsibility for my brothers and the house this week.  Not an ideal way to get ready for a workout.

The workout was simple: 4 x 1600m at 6:00-6:10 with 1 minute recovery.  I warmed up for 20 minutes, did drills and strides, and started the workout.  My first 1600 was a 6:06 and felt fine, although once I stopped, my heart was pounding really hard.  I took 90 seconds and started the second 1600.  This one was immediately bad; my legs wouldn’t move, I was nauseous due to the heat and got even more upset because of that, and it escalated.  I think I hit like a 6:35 or 6:40.

I called my coach, and she told me to get off the track and do a fartlek of 4-3-2-2-1-1 minutes with half-time recovery.  I ran 5 minutes to the bike path and did the fartlek, but I could tell early on that the heat was really getting to me.  (Remember how much trouble I had once it started getting warmer last year?)  After barely completing the second 2-minute interval, I cut off the 1 minute intervals and jogged back to the track.  Guzzled water and jogged a 1.5 mile cool down for a total of 9ish miles today.

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I only had time for 5 minutes of lunges and squats and no stretching before I had to get in the car and go pick up my brother.  I wolfed down a cookies and cream Quest bar, hopped on the highway, and sat in front of his school for 20 minutes with no one answering their phones before I learned that he was at home the whole time!  So I was sedentary for 50 minutes right after a horrible workout for no reason.  My mood worsened.  I sped out of the middle school and stretched and took an ice bath the second I got home.

Anyway, yesterday was definitely not the best day.  But it’s important to stay positive.  I’ve already recognized the factors contributing to the shitty day: heat, hammering my maintenance run yesterday, sitting in the car, emotional trouble, etc.  But hey, at least I got some work in!  Even if it wasn’t quality work.  And I’ve been doing really well with balancing mostly quality foods with rare indulgences recently, and I’ll continue to drink lots of water, and try to get some sleep and recover well so that the next workout is better.

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We can’t control everything, and sometimes things just don’t go our way.  But we can make sure to do well at the things we can control: fueling properly, going to bed at a reasonable time, staying off of social media (I need to work on this!), and working through our emotions (I need to work on this, too!)  I’m a little bitter that this spring break isn’t going to be as “spring break”-y because I’m essentially stuck babysitting my brothers all week, but I need to get over that and focus on everything I’m lucky to have.

Last night’s dinner of leftover butternut squash/kale/Gruyere casserole, roasted pork, roasted sweet potatoes with cinnamon and coconut oil, and (unpictured) mini heirloom tomatoes cheered me up slightly 🙂